Guardian Letter Updates

Update - 21st March 2010

11.28 GMT

Last night Annette Barclay posted some excellent news to MEActionUK.

Yesterday at 6pm GMT Dr Crippen announced that he was quitting both his blog and his work for The Guardian.

Here is Dr Crippen's announcement...


After much thought, I have decided to end NHS BLOG DOCTOR.  To stop any speculation, may I just say that there has been no serious precipitating event; no crisis, no illness, no threats and no pressure from anyone.  I have now retired from active practice within the NHS and am turning my mind to other things. The imperative to keep blogging about medical matters is no longer there. Nor will Dr Crippen be writing in the Guardian or not, at any rate, under a pseudonym.

It's been fun. I've said a lot, and learnt a lot. I hope some of what I said was of value. I am immensely grateful to the writers of the thousands of comments I have received, critical and not so critical, over the years. I shall in particular always remember Christian Jago (Potentilla) who is still much missed. Healthcare and the NHS is a big topic but I feel I have said what I have to say and increasingly I feel that I am just going round and round the houses. I remain committed to the ideal of a decent standard of healthcare being available to all, independent of means and status. Sadly, we are further away from that ideal than we have ever been, and I am not optimistic about the future.

When Dr Crippen appeared there were few medical bloggers in the UK. Now the medical blogosphere is well-populated and I particularly commend the Jobbing Doctor and Dr Grumble to you.

Thanks to all.
Posted by John Crippen at 18:00


At this time Professor Hooper and I are still waiting for a reply from the Guardian.

In the mean time I just wanted to say a massive thank you to everyone who supported our letter from all around the world.

Personally I am just glad that "Dr Crippen" will no longer be denigrating people with ME and I hope that we have in some way drawn a line in the sand for other members of the medical profession.

It is simply unacceptable for doctors bound by their professional code of practice to hide behind assumed identites with the express purpose of breaking their code of practice - enabling them to promote their ignorance and bigotry towards a patient community they have never met personally.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Ralph DCR(D) Retired

Update - 22nd February 2010

Our total has now grown to 371 supporters and more are to be added in the coming days.

Many thanks to Annette Barclay for helping me with this project through the collection of names and places for this project.

I could not have taken on this project without your help Annette and I hope that you will now be able rest and recover.

I have had a couple of enquiries as to whether or not I have had a reply from "the Guardian".

As yet neither Professor Hooper or I have had any sort of response from "the Guardian".

A further update will appear here in 7 days time.

Once again, thankyou to everyone who has supported this lett of complaint.

We will not give up on this until "the Guardian" gives us a full response.



Update - 9th February 2010

6pm GMT

Hello there,

I had a chat with Professor Hooper last night who has quite a bit of experience with letters to Editors of newspapers. Professor Hooper said that our letter probably wouldn’t get published due to it’s length but he did say that the newspaper might give us a right of reply opportunity to submit a shortened version. This then means that the size of our support provided by the number of signatures – now over 250 – would not get printed either.  So, there would be no demonstration anywhere of how many people supported this letter.

This is why I have posted the list of signatures underneath the letter on my website.

Also, the signature list to the Guardian would have been frozen in time when printed out and sent. The Internet being what it is, people have been e-mailing Annette after the letter was sent to Alan Rusbridger yesterday. So, the only way for The Guardian to realise that support was increasing over the issues we raised was to put the expanding list of signatures somewhere The Guardian and our supporters could see them. 

Some people have sent Annette their full names and addresses and that was really kind. :o)

But, to appear on the web page to show support for the letter, we will only put a name and a rough location i.e. town or county. We’ve had a couple of hiccups early on that were quickly ironed out and as both Annette and I are doing this really for the first time it has been quite hard work getting everything together both for Annette and for me.  For example, in my fuzzy state on Monday night, I hadn’t realised the my word processor had crashed on saving and it failed to save the very final changes to the letter to make it free of errors.

Whoever said Windows 7 was the end of computer software crashing inclung Micro$oft Office - was completely wrong.

So the version I initially sent to Professor Hooper needed further corrections by him over the phone when I realised that the website version wasn’t the final version I thought I’d sent him. And a couple of people had address details appear on the site that were too detailed so we removed those as soon as we could. One person wanted to support the letter but didn’t want their name known to anyone. 

So – we have had quite a steep learning curve. I have not seen the e-mails yet that Annette is collecting but we have had some really kind e-mails from people who didn’t even know about this group but who felt strongly that our letter should be supported. And I am really grateful to everyone who has supported this initiative. It will be really interesting to see how the Guardian respond to this. 



Further Updates will appear here as an when something new occurs.